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Ormsby Macknight Mitchel Edit Profile

astronomer , army officer

Ormsby Macknight Mitchel, American astronomer, army officer.


Mitchel, Ormsby Macknight was born on July 28, 1809 in Morganfield, Kentucky, United States. Son of John and Elizabeth (MacAlister) Mitchel.


Graduated from the United States Military Academy, 1829. Honorary Doctor of Laws, Harvard, 1851, Washington College, 1853, Hamilton College, 1856.


Assistant professor mathematics United States Military Academy, 1829. Chief engineer Rittle Miami R.R., 1836-1837. Professor mathematics, philosophy, astronomy Cincinnati College, 1836-1846.

Putlished magazine Sidereal Messenger, 1846-1848. Adjutant general Ohio, 1848. Inventor chronograph, 1848.

Chief engineer Ohio & Mississippi R.R., 1848-1853. Director, largely responsible for erection Cincinnati Observatory. Largely responsible for erecting 2d largest telescope, and largest on Western continent under auspices of Cincinnati Astronomical Society, 1845.

Made approximately 50,000 observations of faint stars between 1854-1859. Discovered the duplicity of stars (e.g. Antares); director Dudley Observatory, Albany, New York, 1859.

Appointed brigadier general United States Volunteers, 1861. Assigned to command Department of Ohio. Brevetted major general volunteers, 1862.

Surprised and captured Huntsville, Alabama without firing a gun, thus obtained control of Memphis & Charleston R.R. Promoted major general volunteers. Transferred to command Department of South and X Army Corps, September 17, 1862.

Author: Planetary and Stellar Worlds, 1848. Popular Astronomy, 1860.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Planetary and Stellar Worlds, 1848. Popular Astronomy, 1860.


Married Louisa (Clark) Trask, 1831.

John Mitchel

Elizabeth (MacAlister) Mitchel